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New cat hiding under bed 24/7

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi. I adopted a cat from a lady who couldn't keep him anymore and was going to have him put down if she didn't find him a home. His name is Jaws and he is 4 years old, He has lived indoors his whole life with a single lady. He is incredibly obese, weighing over 25 lbs and is about 3 cats wide. The lady described him to be very calm, quiet, and very stuck in his ways, and does not like changes. I have 2 daughters who are young, yet they are very calm and good around animals. I brought them to meet Jaws at the lady's home, and Jaws was very leery of the kids, yet he did not run or hide from them, he just lay on the couch and avoided them as best he could without moving too much. He seemed to like me, so I decided to take him home hoping he would slowly get used to the kids and my husband over time. I set up his litter box, food/water dishes, and toys in my bedroom, so he would have a quiet room to stay in. The problem is he hides under our large king size bed 24/7, unless I am the only person in the room and I baby-talk him then he comes out and rubs on my legs. He periodically sneaks out and uses his litter box and eats/drinks, but then hides back under the bed. He is very afraid of my husband and the kids and will NOT come out if they are in the room or even NEAR the room. He even goes as far as to growl if my hubby approaches him. I have been getting them to try feed him tiny bits of his favorite treats that the lady gave me, so that he will maybe start to like them, but he will not even come to them for his favorite foods. Yet his is totally fine around me, I am assuming this is because I am a woman, like his old owner was and he feels comfortable with me. We have only had Jaws for 2 days, but he has not shown any progress with coming out from under the bed, he only comes out at night when it is dark and quiet, then I hear him sneaking around the house exploring. How am I going to get this cat used to everyone? I don't mind giving him lots of time to adjust but I am very concerned he might just get used to living under the bed, and that would be a terrible life for a cat. Plus I can't get him to lose weight if he just lays under the bed all the time and doesn't move. I don't know what to do, should I try coaxing him out from under the bed and then carry him to another room in the house and try holding him on the couch on my lap, or maybe get my hubby and kids to hang out in the bedroom a lot so he can get used to them, or should I just leave him alone and MAYBE he might eventually get brave and used to people? I have a bad feeling he is just going to get in the habit of living under the bed ( please any advice would be appreciated, what would you do?



post #2 of 7
Jaws sounds to me like a very timid cat. Most outgoing cats adjust within a few days to a week. Jaws will probably need months of time to get used to things.

I'd set him up in his own room with food/water/litterbox/toys. Look into Feliway diffusers. Make sure the kids know they are not allowed near him until he has adjusted more - I advise adopters here to give the kitty a week to adjust, then introduce slowly the kids to kitty.

Go into his room, sit & talk to him - be calm, give him time. Hopefully in a month he will be much more adjusted - but for now he has been ripped away from all he has known. He's terrified - afraid that your husband, the kids, or you are out to get him - he doesn't know what's going on.
post #3 of 7
I'd go with your idea of having your husband and kids spend time in the room, just sitting and maybe reading to themselves in a soft voice (I did that with my adoptees)...and let Jaws make the first move toward them. And bless you all for your patience....
post #4 of 7
White cat lover is right, give him time and set him up to have a room he can be alone and feel safe in. He will come around. Be patient, good luck
post #5 of 7
What a handsome guy! From what I understand, showing his belly like that is his way of showing trust.

I have experienced this in some ways. These are what worked for me and are tips I got from those experienced here.

I think you are doing the right thing giving him his own space and letting him explore when he is comfortable.

Spend time in the room with him on the floor and ignore him. Let him come to you. Read out loud or work on a laptop, anything. Use a wand type toy and drag it around so he can see it. Then leave treats (maybe a small healthy one ) where you were sitting.

Get a teeshirt that you have worn and gotten sweaty. Leave this shirt full of your smells under his food dish. Associates good things with your smell. Next do the same with each family member.

Have each of the family members do this same thing.....one at a time. He is overwhelmed right now and it may help him get used to the family not as a crowd but as each individual.

Do not stare at him or look directly at him. Some cats take that as threatening. He is already afraid.

He may just be shy and need time. This will be his time schedule. I don't think it is possible to say how long. He may turn out to be outgoing once he gets accustomed to the new surroundings and people. He only knew the one lady and had no choice. Now that he has your family you may find his personality to be outgoing. Again, important to just give him time. Weeks or months, whatever it takes for him.

Cats love predictability. Keep everything you do for him as close to the same time each day as possible. Make a routine for him feeding, litterbox cleaning, visits, etc.

Maybe others will add to this and you can try what might work for you.

You did a wonderful thing for this guy by giving him a home. I really don't beleive he will make the bed his home. I have 4 former feral cats that I was sure I would never see out from behind furniture and after months they are all over the place.
post #6 of 7
He is going to be fine, and it is normal that he is under the bed for a couple of days... When I brought Lucky home (she is/was a shy cat), she didn't eat, drink, or used the litter box for a full 48 hours - I just about died of worry!
Under the bed was also her favorite place - and she still goes there when she is startled, or to take naps during the day.
It has been 2 months since she arrived, and she has completely bonded with me. She sleeps with me, and wake me up with kisses... she plays, and will wait for me to go to bed.... I pick her up and give her kisses and hugs without a problem...
I guess my best advice is hang around where she is, on her room, as much as you can. Talk to her in a soft voice, and let her know that you love her... Do NOT stare at her, and blink a lot while talking to her. Lay down on the floor and just stay there... Let her come to you at her own time. Don't try to pick her up.
Once she trust you to come to you, then move on to the next challenge; brushing her, moving the food away a little... etc.
Just give her love, time and space to come to you on her own, and you will be surprised how she comes around... It does take time and work - there were days with Lucky that I thought "Oh my, what did I put myself into??" But I can not tell you how rewarding it is to see her flourishing... For example: yesterday was the first day that she actually spooned with me on bed, and I just about melted like Ice cream... Until yesterday she slept on a pillow on her side of the bed, not touching me.
Anyway: Good luck with your new kitty!
post #7 of 7
Don't worry. Just give him time and space. He will come out when he's ready. He's obviously a shy cat and it will take him more time to warm up to your husband and kids since he was only used to one woman as his owner. Yes, it's a good idea for your family to spend sone time in the same room as him so he can get used to them. It might take time, but eventually he will be out and about. He's a cute boy! How nice of you to take him in.
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